2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival
Round 8 Report
Stewart Reuben reports: Today the sun shone beamishly. There was a wealth of competitive chess for the commentary room to consider: GM Simon Williams had the help there of GM Stuart Conquest, GM Nigel Short, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Jon Speelman, IM Alex Wohl, IM Jack Rudd and others in the room from time to time. People online who made valuable contributions included GM Peter Wells, IMs Richard Bates, Lawrence Cooper and Thomas Rendle. Peter Purland went off as usual to teach chess to local schoolchildren. The special evening event was team pairs, that is alternate moves by the two members of the team and no consultation. This event was visibly and audibly enjoyed by all who participated. In other words, it was another day in chess paradise at the Caleta Hotel.
Ivanchuk (6) v Roiz (5½) was the top board game. 19...Nxf4 seemed to favour Black, in the view of Simon Williams. But White recovered, Black got sloppy and eventually lost. Many thought his resignation was premature.
"No doubt your opponent would not resign here and, alas, nor would mine" (said Leonard Barden of a similar premature resignation). It is quite probable that White would win but most of us would require White to do some more work before lowering our colours.
Gopal (5½) v Short (5½) was a well-crafted game by the Englishman. Even so, he admitted he did not see 24…Qb4+ 25 Bd2 exd4! I must admit to a certain feeling of relish that even great grandmasters overlook things.
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 6.c3 Bf5 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.g3 Qa5 9.Bg2 Qb5 10.Nh4 Bg6 10...Bd3!? 11.b3?! e5 12.c4 Qb4+ 13.Bd2 exd4! at this point Nigel exclaimed "I didn't see that at all" - otherwise he would have played this very sweet combination. In fairness, White has other options here, such as 11.Qb3. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Qb3 a6 13.d5 Nc5 14.Qxb5 cxb5 15.Ke2 Na4 16.h4 Bh6 17.f4 f5 18.Rb1 Bg7 19.Be3 0–0–0 20.Rhd1 Kb8 21.Rd3 Rd7 22.Kd2 Rc8 23.Bd4 Bxd4 24.Rxd4 Nb6
25.b3 25.Ke2 may have been better hereabouts, planning to defend the d-pawn with a further rook. 25...Rcd8 26.c4 e6 27.Bf1 bxc4 28.bxc4 Ka7 29.Bg2 exd5 30.cxd5 Nxd5 Inexorably, White's position has worsened and a pawn has been lost. 31.Bxd5 Rxd5 32.Rxd5 Rxd5+ 33.Ke3 Ra5 34.Kd4 A desperate attempt to carry the fight back to Black but it falls well short. 34...Rxa2 35.Ke5 Ra3 36.g4 fxg4 37.Kf6 g3 38.Rg1 38.Kxf7 g2 39.Rg1 Rg3 is hopeless. 38...Rf3 39.Kg5 a5 40.Kg4 Rc3 41.f5 a4 42.fxg6 fxg6 43.Kg5 Rc6 44.Rxg3 b5 0–1
The young Italian-American Fabiano Caruana (5) gave a very cogent explanation of his game with Richard Rapport (5) where Black got squeezed off the board in a most delicate style. Many might think this is not the stuff of games which will be anthologised, but we disagree. It is very hard to believe that Caruana is the older player.
The one that got away - we think. Salome Melia missed a win near the end of her game with strong GM Daniel Fridman. Nonetheless she is still on course for a GM norm.
33...Qxe3? Allowing perpetual check. Black can win with 33...c5! when, for example, 34.Kf3 Qh1+ 35.Ng2 Ng5+ 36.Kf2 Nh3+ 37.Kf3 Qf1+ wins. 34.Qf5+ Kg8 35.Qc8+ ½–½
While we were discussing what to put in the bulletin, a suggested amendment was rejected in some exasperation by Stewart with the words “life is too short and so am I”.